Friday, June 6, 2014

Spring Airlines Japan delays launch to August 1st.

On June 6th, Spring Airlines Japan (IJ/SJO) announced that they will postpone their launch to August 1st due to preparations taking more time than expected. Japan's newest LCC originally planned to commence services from Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA) to Hiroshima (HIJ/RJOA), Saga (HSG/RJFS), and Takamatsu (TAK/RJOT) on June 27th (Spring Airlines Japan to launch services on June 27th.) using brand-new Boeing 737-800s.
Boeing 737-86N(WL) JA02GR made a stop at Honolulu on delivery to Japan in December 2013. (Photo: HNL RareBirds)

According to Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), a division of Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) which regulates and oversees civil aviation in the country, there were various procedures which had to be revised when proving flights took place in late April. Although Spring Airlines Japan had been making efforts to meet the planned launch date, it was decided that more time would be needed.

Additionally, one of two planned round-trips between Narita and Takamatsu will not be started until October 26th, the beginning of the Winter 2014/2015 timetable. Affected flights are IJ611/612, and the company has cited pilot training taking more time as the main reason, though they emphasized that they had enough numbers. Shortages of pilots have caused massive travel disruptions at competitors Peach Aviation (MM/APJ) (Peach outlines Summer 2014 mass cancellations.) and Vanilla Air (JW/VNL) (Vanilla Air cancels 154 flights in June due to pilot shortage.).

Flight schedule (August 1st – October 25th):
Narita – Hiroshima new 2 daily with 73H.
IJ621 NRT 0655 – 0835 HIJ 73H Daily
IJ623 NRT 1625 – 1805 HIJ 73H Daily
IJ622 HIJ 0920 – 1050 NRT 73H Daily
IJ624 HIJ 1850 – 2020 NRT 73H Daily

Narita - Saga new 2 daily with 73H.
IJ601 NRT 1055 – 1255 HSG 73H Daily
IJ603 NRT 1655 – 1855 HSG 73H Daily
IJ602 HSG 1340 – 1525 NRT 73H Daily
IJ604 HSG 1940 – 2125 NRT 73H Daily

Narita - Takamatsu new 2 daily to be reduced to 1 daily with 73H.
IJ611 NRT 0630 – 0755 TAK 73H Daily *Canceled through Oct/25.
IJ613 NRT 1150 – 1315 TAK 73H Daily
IJ612 TAK 0840 – 0955 NRT 73H Daily *Canceled through Oct/25.
IJ614 TAK 1410 – 1525 NRT 73H Daily

Due to the delay, a total of 592 flights are being canceled, affecting 5,009 seats sold on Spring Airlines Japan's website as well as another 5,000 sold through travel agencies. Passengers who have tickets for travel between June 27th and July 31st have the choice of re-booking to another flight on the same route for travel after August 1st, or a full refund including the processing fee.

Spring Airlines Japan is the Japanese affiliate of Shanghai/Pudong (PVG/ZSPD)-based Spring Airlines (9C/CQH), which controls 33%, the maximum possible figure under Japan's foreign ownership rules. Last year, Hiroshi Ukai, former Safety Inspector General at JCAB, was selected as Representative Director to head Spring Airlines Japan in part to speed up the application process, taking advantage of his regulatory expertise to cover for the lack of rapport with the regulator All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA) and Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) enjoy.

Source: Spring Airlines Japan, June 6th. (PDF; in Japanese)
Source: Aviation Wire, June 6th. (in Japanese)

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